Life in the Lab: Bryce Chung

Bryce Chung is a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Institute, working under both Don Edwards, Regents’ Professor of neuroscience, and biologist; and Robert Clewley, assistant professor of neuroscience and mathematics. Chung’s work blends computational neuroscience with biology to produce models of complex neurological systems.

We are studying the role of sensory feedback in walking crayfish through a hybrid bio-computational interface and a mathematical modeling approach. Don Edwards built both a simplified computer model and a complete model of the crayfish leg including the neural circuitry controlling reflexes in the first joint. This arrangement allows us to record the neural activity of the nerves and use that activity to drive the computational model, which, in return, drives a mechanical stimulator back on the nerve cord.

In addition, Rob Clewley advises me on how we can use non linear computational models to understand complex systems. We are developing a toolbox that will allow the user to utilize a visual aid in order to understand the inner workings of a very complex system.

My cousin was born with cerebral palsy and that set me off on a neuroscience-engineering-technology life search. While I currently work on crayfish, I’d like to develop brain interfaces — like deep brain stimulation or transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, which can help individuals like my cousin live more normal lives.

I’m a native of Hawaii. I’m absolutely emotionally close with my cousin, even though we’re not geographically close. I talk to my family a lot, and it’s just always something that keeps you going and keeps you motivated — to keep hearing about my cousin’s progress and how she’s doing in school, even though she’s been medically diagnosed as not being able to function. Seeing the art that she produces or how she interacts with people, it still makes you think.